2012 Kentucky High School Football Preview - Class 2A
1. Covington Holy Cross - Head Coach Bruce Kozerski’s Indians return as defending State Champions. Will they be able to repeat the most successful year in school history after graduating an outstanding senior class? First year QB Travis Gabbard looks to be the man to take the snaps, but he will see preasure from new arrival, Mitch Trail, from Arizona. Whichever man gets the job should have enough time to run the plays. The offensive line returns starters Alex Russell (SR), Andrew Monson (SR), and Jacob Ketron (JR) who look to lead what they hope will be the toughest offensive line in class 2A. With Vinnie Pangallo (SR), Burt Pouncy (SR) and Jalen Beal (JR) all looking for the ball, the Indians expect to strike up the same high-powered offense that they finished with last year. Defensively, look for Kyle Fischer (SR) and Devin Herndon (SR) to lead them in trying to recreate what was the toughest defense in last year’s 2A playoffs. Will they have enough to repeat thier win over the NCC team who, until last year, had ended any hopes the Indians had of a State Championship? Look for the two to battle it out for a district Championship and then meet again in the playoffs, for what should be yet another battle for bragging rights in 2A.
2. Newport Central Catholic - The NewCath coaching staff and its returning players have a bad taste in their mouth from a disappointing 24-21 loss, (on a Covington Holy Cross field goal) in the final seconds of the regional finals – a game that many in NKY called the Class 2A Championship. The Breds return 15 starters from last year's team, with Sr. Josh Cain (23/30, 309 yds. 3 td’s) taking over the QB duties. The main players on offense this season will be the quick and powerful running of Sr. RB Dylan Hayes (139 carries 1036 yrds, 10 td’s), along with the receiving core of Jr. Mac Franzen (31 catches 417 yds 3 td’s) & Sr. Pete Collopy (21catches 204 yds 4 td’s). The defense will return six of the top ten leading tacklers from last season – anchored by Sr. Elliott Rust, Sr. Mason Myers, Sr. Jake Haas, & Jr. Tyler Lyon (son of former six-year NFL veteran, Billy Lyon). Also returning from a season ending ACL injury in game three last season, will be Sr. OL/DL Brady Thacker, who will be a big boost on both sides of the ball. Although the loss of Brady Hightchew to graduation is big, the bigger question will be, who will replace the leg of kicker Matt Burns? The kicking game could be the Breds’ weakest link. However, Coach Eviston and the staff will work hard at getting the Breds ready for a return trip to the finals. Since 2000, the Breds have made it to the state finals in 1A or 2A seven times, and the young men on "The Hill" are working on making it eight times.
3. Owensboro Catholic - enters the 2012 season on an even keel. The offensive and defensive lines are the most experienced positions on the field. Almost all of their linemen have started in 28 football games over the last two seasons. The most dynamic of the linemen is Arkansas State commit, Logan Cart. Also back this year are Andrew Carlisle, Steven Hall, Stefan Swift and Dustin Cole. The linebackers and running backs are solid as well. At RB, Chris Vessels, Joe McIntosh, and Holden Staples will split time in the Aces offense. At LB, Ben Wathen, Chandler Osborne, Jason Toth, Devereaux Reed, and Joe McIntosh lead a defense that ranked high in 2A last year. Here’s where OC is vulnerable though: they have skilled players, but lack experience in the secondary. And their wide receivers must improve weekly. In Owensboro Catholic’s offense, they must complete passes to sustain drives. Sr. Bradley Norcia is the only returning starter at WR. In the secondary, OC graduated three seniors. Ray Zuberer (Fr.) Jansen Riney (So.) and Joesph Mills (Jr.) must pick up where these players left off. The QB position that was held by two-year starter, Isaac Hardesty has been given to Houston Hartz (Jr.), who will need to keep improving everyday as well. If Hartz can make headway, as well as their secondary and receiver play, Owensboro Catholic can make another run. If not…then the Aces will rely heavily on their lines to get them through the season and deep into the playoffs.
4. Somerset - Somerset has won ten playoff games in the first three years of the “Robbie Lucas era.” After a 9-5 record last year, Somerset faces the same daunting schedule this year. 2A Runner-up Glasgow, 1A Champion Hazard, 5A Semi-Finalist Southwestern, Breathitt County and Whitley County are all on Somerset’s non-district schedule. Danville, Lexington Christian and Middlesboro wait on the district schedule for the Briar Jumpers. Somerset lost a talented and accomplished Senior class last year, but return several key players – along with a couple of key newcomers. First year transfers, Tyson Williams (Sr) and Jonathan Perdue (Sr) are expected to start and contribute immediately. Williams, a (6'5" 260) TE/DE/LB, who comes here from McCreary County, should provide some extra firepower from his TE position. Strongman Tevin Slaughter (Sr) returns to anchor a defensive line that could be one of Somerset's best over the past several years.On offense, Somerset is working in several new starting linemen. The line will be anchored by Junior Kagen Skidmore (6'2" 280) at tackle and transfer Jonathan Perdue at center. Look for an early QB battle between Tanner Gadberry (Jr) and Castle Hatcher (Fr). Somerset should be more balanced offensively this year, after being run orientated last year. The schedule is strong and the Jumpers may take some lumps, but should be battle-tested come November.
5. Danville - The 2012 Admirals could be one of the best teams in Class 2A. Sam Harp will be starting his 25th season as head coach of the Ads (267-68 with seven State Championships). The Ads return Sr. Devonta Alcorn, who started at quarterback as a sophomore and junior before uffering an injury that forced him to relinquish the job to Triston Ford. Alcorn will bring his leadership and athleticism to help the Admirals compete for a 2012 state championship. The key for the Ads success will be in the trenches. Danville returns Sr. J.K. Howard(OL-DL), Sr. Michael Jones(OL-DL) and Sr. Elliott Porter (OL-DL). In the backfield, the Ads return several key running backs, including Sr. Jadarius Brown, Sr. Ace Ray,Jr, Jawan Grey and Jr. Olyjawan Ford. If the Admirals are going to make a deep run in 2012, the defense will have to eliminate blown pass coverages in the secondary and do a good job wrapping up against the run. On offense, the Ads will have to do a good job holding on to the ball and be disciplined enough to avoid unnecessary penalties. Overall, this could be Harps best team since the 2006 state runner-up team.
6. Christian Academy-Louisville – The Centurians (8-5) are hoping 2012 will be the corner-turning season the program has been gearing for since they named (former Louisville Cardinal quarterback) Stefan LeFors as their head coach. With 14 starters back – including nine on defense – the Centurians are hoping to assume the underdog role that Covington Holy Cross enjoyed last year on their way to that school’s first state title. Coach LeForswill call on linebacker Chad Meredith to lead an experienced defensive unit that allowed 25-plus points in their first four games, but did so just twice in their final nine. Sophomores Tristan Cusick and David Schmidt are expected to challenge for the quarterback position vacated by the graduation of Andrew Risher. The Centurians will also look to replace their leading ground gainer from last year in Ivan Talley. CAL surprised many with their season sweep of DeSales – including a second round overtime win over the Colts. However, the Centurians are looking to continue their climb up the 2A ladder and to overtake Holy Cross and DeSales as the top small school football program in Louisville.
7. Green County - Green County (7-4) has seen both their overall wins and their playoff wins decrease by one each of the past three years – including a first round exit to DeSales last year. Quarterback Weston McDermott and running back Elliott Taylor lead an offense that averaged over 34 points per game last year, and returns three senior linemen. Overall, the Dragons are a young team with just six seniors and 12 juniors on the roster.
8. Murray – In 2011, Murray (12-2) missed the Class 2A state title game by just one week, falling to a loaded Glasgow team in the state semi-finals. Steve Duncan’s squad welcomes back 16 starters from that team, in addition to a rare transfer from hated rival Mayfield. After starting on Mayfield’s 2011 Class 1A championship team, Senior DE Labron Scott (WKU commit) decided a change of scenery was in order. He will help a stingy defense that held eight of their 14 opponents to two touchdowns or less. Junior Dylan Boone will run a Murray offense that throws the football about as much as Trinity loses to Kentucky teams. Andre Phillips and James Holland expect to get most of the carries behind Boone. Jaleel Lee and Dylan Upchurch will also rotate in for some carries. The Tigers have advanced to the region title game the past three years in their move up to Class 2A, and – barring a night where they're forced to pass 15 times – they should make it four in a row in 2012.
9. Lexington Christian - Lexington Christian (6-7) is hoping a bevy of returning skill players helps them rebound from their first losing season in a decade. Sophomore Dima Ballard expects to start the season at quarterback, after splitting his 2011 snaps with junior Lincoln Henzman. But you can still expect Henzmen to touch the football plenty of times in different sets along with Ballard. One of Ballard’s top targets will be Justin King, who caught six touchdown passes last year. Three-year starter Sam Maybriar returns in the backfield. Up front, the Eagles are big, but they can’t afford any injuries. Josh West and Logan Messner anchor an experienced line. Lexington Christian did not adapt well to their jump to Class 2A last year, but rebounded well to upset Danville in the regular season and win two playoff games. They will need more of that late magic if they are to avoid traveling for their first round playoff game in 2012.
10. Bardstown - If it's true that beauty is only skin deep, the Bardstown Tigers will need to grow a much thicker skin in 2012 if they hope to maintain the looks that led them to a 10-2 campaign last season. The purple and gold graduated 15 seniors – including all-stars Jordan Brewer and Anthony Myrks – as well as three of their five starting offensive lineman. So depth development of younger players will be critical to their success in 2012. Already, sixth-year head coach David Clark has said, "a lot more players than usual will be playing both sides of the football." One of those two-way returning starters will be senior captain Donshais Calbert at linebacker and fullback. Another will be “all-world” receiver and defensive back captain Marcus Cosby. Offensively, Bardstown will turn to its typical speed players in senior Dee Yocum and junior Deion Tonge to carry the ball, and sophomore Keano Young will step into the large paw prints left by the departed Brewer. However, defense is a question, and it remains to be seen how the “Bourbon City Bengals” complement linemen Lincoln Doan, Jonathan Greer, and Robert Ferguson with younger talent in the trenches. If the depth develops, Bardstown will walk the runway ahead of DeSales and CAL in their district. If not, they could be looking for a “makeover.”